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Farmer Wants a Wife, With Its On-Camera Producers, Is the Most Honest Look at Reality-TV Since UnREAL

Farmer Wants a Wife Producers on Camera
Farmer Wants a Wife Producers on Camera
Hulu screenshot

If you had any doubt that UnREAL delivered an accurate look at the juuust-off-camera machinations on dating shows, Fox’s Farmer Wants a Wife has proven that the Constance Zimmer-led scripted series was the real reality-TV deal.

The main way that Farmer Wants a Wife does that is by occasionally allowing the cameras to show both the farmers and the women they are a-courtin’ engaging in consultations with the producers assigned to them. Audio/subtitles and all.

That unvarnished approach to what makes shows such as this tick became evident in the very first episode of the Fox acquisition, when Allen — a farmer who is far from a smooth talker (and is borderline awk’ at times) — checked in with his producer after his first, lackluster one-on-one with Cassidy Jo.

Farmer Wants a Wife Producers
Allen admits a shortcoming to his producer (Hulu screenshot)Hulu screenshot
Farmer Wants a Wife Producers
Allen’s producer reassures him after his awkward one-on-one (Hulu screenshot)Hulu screenshot

That look at the “man behind the reality-TV curtain” was very much a bit of a callback to what UnREAL asked us to believe about the hand-holding and talent management that goes on between takes. But more importantly, it was refreshing the way that the Fox series didn’t conceal the consult, and even fleshed out Allen’s story because of it.

Farmer Wants a Wife Producers
Hailey’s producer coached her to “reconnect” with Ryan (Hulu screenshot)

The latest, April 5 installment of Farmer Wants a Wife took that transparency to a whole other level when Hailey got to fretting about whatever it is that she and farmer Ryan do or don’t have.

Breaking away from Ryan’s other prospects at a demolition derby group date, a teary Hailey slinked into the shadows to tell her producer, “This man acts like he likes me and he doesn’t! I don’t want to be here. I didn’t come here to be a background character.” (Emphasis, ours.)

The beanie-wearing producer coached Hailey to “go to the bathroom, get yourself together, and tell me what you want to do.” Hailey did so, then insisted to her producer, “I’m done. If Ryan doesn’t want me here then I don’t want to be here.”

The producer quickly directed her to “tell him that. Reconnect with him, and have your conversation about whatever it is that you want to say.” (Spoiler alert: Hailey took the direction, and in doing so learned that Ryan still digs her.)

If you’re among the 3 million people watching Farmer Wants a Wife, what did you make of that jarring appearance by Allen’s producer in Episode 1, and the on-camera producer consults we have been privy to since then? Do you prefer your reality-TV with a more candid presentation?

NOTE: I don’t watch much reality-TV at all — the staff frankly laughs that I am into Farmer Wants a Wife —  so I don’t know just how novel this transparency is. But it seems rare.

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